Marla Esser Cloos, (Close) Green Home Coach
NAHB Master Certified Green Professional, LEED AP and Missouri Certified Women Business Enterprise
Marla inspires and educates about how homes can be part of the solution through green and sustainable actions, whether it’s a few green practices in an existing home or remodel or a whole new green home. Her work creating an online owners’ manual for green and greener homes, HomeNav.com, paved the way to sharing how green practices and homes help people – in all walks of life – to have safer, healthier, more comfortable homes. Her mission is to empower people to live better lives and be part of the solution for our future by taking action in their own homes.
Marla is the author of LivingGreen Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home from NAHB Builder Books. She founded and co-hosts the Green Gab Podcast, on iTunes, 2 Guys Talking Podcast Network and GreenHomeCoach.com. Her blogs and articles can be found on Green Home Coach, Elemental.Green, Proud Green Home, Green Home Builder, Building Women and The Healthy Planet.
I absolutely Love that you say I have an amazing life!
But you know you fake it and you make it! Some days are amazing and you
My main webstie is awesomeMontana.com. I struggle and have my challenges, but I definitley feel that I am blessed every day. What I love about you is your passion for the planet and how you teach people. We had talked a few days ago about Idk if I told you I had my real estate licesnse and Mike and I are definitely interested in real estate investing
That makes a lot of sense, Realtors are a link between home buyers and the home industry there’s a very back burner conversation
Realtors understanding more of this and get into the conversation means and what green means
go green means nothing
taking action with green practices
road to get us to a better destination
go green is great but we haven’t told anyone what to do to go green!
I’m all about action!
what really works
go do it, go try it
failure’s how we learn there was a great post on Facebook
you have to go do things to figure out what works.
How many ligthbubls did Thomas Edison make?
have to keep going
finding ways we can talk about with our friends and family
Doing it in a way that gets everybody excited!
We have to do it in a way that is non-confrontational
whole bunch of stuff about the nasties
we’re never gonna fix this if you just wallow in the bad stuff
other side of the coin
There’s a lot of people a lot of ingenuity
We don’t have to invent
a lot of choices are super simple ….
We have to
- get out of our habits
- get a little brave
So that’s what the book is about
let’s talk about some of the ways
OK, let’s give listeners one action step right now that they can implement today!
Go home. take every incandescent bulb out of your house. If you have to throw in trash they are going to get thrown away whether you have to replace them or not.
Leds are everywhere now
I have found them for as little as $2 a bulb
They’re hassle free
- totally recyclable
- electronic component
- better light
- different shades of bright
When they first came out they were the bright light and American’s don’t like whiter light that a lot of Europeans and Asians
You want to replace your lights. They’re better then
the costs have come down.
CFLS are harder to recycle. They have a little trace of mercury in it it’s not enough to harm you one little bulb but do you want people you know working in factories working in that environment so let’s just up the level and care about everybody and not do as much mercury then we have to.
So what’s a LED light. They’re different then these spiral light bulbs we have and the ones my electric company gave me etc. What’s an LED light? IDK if I have one.
My builder had all CFL’s in my home too.
CFL’s are little squiggly ones.
compact fluourescent lighting
They are the long tubes in office and in the old days they hummed. Those are florescent tube lighting. A couple of decades ago or IDK when a while ago somebody figured out they could take that long tube and put it in a spiral so IDK how it works but it needs so much room. It needs a certain amount of linear room. Needs to light up a gas.
Here’s another little known fact.
Did you have a little easy bake oven when you were a kid?
What did you use to bake your cake?
IDK a light bulb?
We actually have the opposite problem, we need one for our pump house and maybe the chicken house? And we can’t find one anywhere.
make it a bulb…
so far better then the incandescent
used a fraction of
easy bake oven
60 watt 100 watt
a light bulb gets hot enough to bake…
if you live in an environment to
paying extra in energy and money to overcome the heating effects of light bulbs
phasing out the upper wattages
applications where we want them…
next step was the CFLs
best option we had
So am I wrong? Are LED’s christmas lights?
There’s where they started. They actually started as the little indicator lights in your computer and car what somebody.
If you combine enough
engineer background talking. If you combine enough of these diodes. and combine them in the right colors
home and office
interior setting to read by
technical terms to have enough lumens
whatever you want to do
- read a recipe
- or whatever you want to do
LED lightbulbs first came out they weren’t great quality of lights they were kind of hard to use and they were expensive
That changed really fast
if you have to go buy a bulb tomorrow buy an LED instead of a CFL
if your replacing lightbulbs
if you have incandescents replace them now with LEDs
if you have cfls, leave them till they burn out which should be several years. They should have a multi year lifespan. When they burn out recycle them
most big box stores, hardware stores have CFL recycling.
They are not to put them in the garbage.
Try your big box stores or hardwares stores have CFL recycling up front.
This is so interesting I just talked to someone from Terra Cycling yesterday… they reached out to me.
You should be able to find them in any store now! I even find them in the drug stores…
When I go to buy light bulbs I’m like lost anymore its so confusing. We bought CFL’s when they first came out for eveyrone.
You just gave me a great idea I’ve been looking for a freebie to give out, and I’m gonna do
How to pick out a lightbulb.
SPI = Smart Passive Income
Tell us about your background because you’re a LEED specialist. Do you listen to Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income show because before he started the SPI he started out as an architect and his first website was really just a journal of his notes he was studying for the LEED exam.
People benefited from his notes so much that when he finally published his book they bought it just because they had learned so much from him and they wanted to pay him back even if they’d already passed the test long ago.
sponsored by the US Green Building Council
accredidation for people and professionals. It means I’ve gone through the training to understand green and sustainable practices as they are relevant to a building and a home.
if you’re working with a professional whether they’ve been trhough some training.
- ga – green association
- ap- accredited professional
- fellow if you’ve been doing it for a super long time –
You can also specialize:
- interior design
- operations and
- interiors and homes
LEED is so recognized nationwide a certiication for other programs for the residential
Another certification for the actual building and how it’s run
according to building and
An accredited designation
I’ve been through education to know what green means
similar to LEED AP
National Association of Home Building Side
here’s what you want to take away
My home has been through and been checked out by a third party and when I go to sell my home that certification stays with the home and I can
typically sell faster and for more money because that 3rd party stamp of approval stays with the home. That my home does what it says it does.
A lot of people that are building
a lot of people investing in commercial and multi family are requesting they have some sort of green or certification because they usually are better and sell better.
but what I’m trying to do is take what I’ve learned and translate that into something meaningful for those of us just living an ordinary life.
what’s kind of crazy
all this great information
tons of it.
- company level
Very few people are translating to what that means to you to your home sitting there today drinking your coffee or whatever. So that is what I am working to do making it part of our conversation.
I love what I do with the podcast we ave these converstations. What I have coffee talk conversations that people may not have heard of before. Take it and turn it into something actionable.
How I got started through
grew up with a grandmother who grew up in the depression so I grew up with this waste not -want not mentality
Then my daughter had a reaction to commercial grade detergents when we were on vacation
Then I started to get chemicals out of my home
not as easy as it is today
Then I worked with a start-up company where he was building a small energy consulting practice
learn the green and sustainability climate
and the people in st louis where I lived at the time from the inside out. There’s this amazing amount of resource and thought practices in the St. Louis area
So I got to grow up in the industry and that
When my friend and I decided to part my own company and separate because we had some different life goals
I worked primarily with builders on these green home certification programs. I did a piece of the education and homeowner documentation. I built a software tool we offered a white glove service.
We would customize this software that would help builders meet the homeowner documentation and process on how to run your house, the homeowner manual
that’s how I really got my real life experiences
having all these letters behind your name doesn’t mean squat if you have no experience.
the good the bad, the ugly
had this dream about taking the business online
personal occurrences that basically froze me from doing any more project work
The universe afforded me the time and opportunities to start the podcast and to finish my book. It really changed the direction and kept going since then! We’ve recorded 60+ episodes on the podcast. a little over a year and half ago
book hit in January of 2017
anybody wants to find it Green Home Coach
Multiple options to buy it.
amazon and b&n for carryiing the book
how many people are getting this conversation
how to get into the conversation
with president Trump being part of th Paris Climate Accord
people stood up and raised their hands and said we’re still doing this. Organizations and individuals paying attention and it’s just talked about differently now
part of that is because some of this is more engrained in business models
- expect curbside recycling
- expect products in our homes that are healthier for us
were not done
have a long way to go
But I love being able to celebrate that we are
That’s what I talk about a lot that’s why I love Millennials because it just comes natural to them and the places they shop and the products they use, they’re very conscious and want the best for their kids. Trying to excite students about getting excited about recycling etc.
I can’t not compost. if you give me food and I’m gonna compost it I can’t throw it in the garbage. We didn’t even have a sink, we have 350 kids every day getting plastic bowl and styrofoam etc. and none of it getting recycled going in the trash!
one of the choices that I am conscientious
I hate buying stuff that’s packaged like 3 times a plastic container with a plastic box.
- sometimes you have to make tradeoffs
- cant always make that choice
- you have to be kind to yourself
- have some grace
80% of the time you’re making a great contribution
That’s what I want people to know
do 5 things a little smarter
Next time you go to the grocery store
take 5 extra minutes read the labels and make a different better choice
that’s all you have to do to get started.
do you want to tell us about some ideas about being at the store. I struggle with my head goes back and forth, you can’t buy that you can’t afford it my mom would think I’m being spoiled you can’t buy that it’s bad for the workers, it’s not fair trade, but that’s being a prima dona. I can stand in front of the vegetable aisle or the coffee and go back and forth so many times….
You of all people know the value of organic is multifold
Organic is healthier for us not just healthier as individuals
- not getting all the pesticides
- the insecticides
- the synthetic fertilizers
real live people to provide us with a better product.
that they don’t know
healthier encounter with the land
farmer’s hands that handle a lot of synthetic and traditional farming practices and the rate of cancer in those folks
not just me having a better quality of life
buy more organic. I’m not going to have a garden this year. I
I typically grow a little bit of my own food
I always grow it organically
control what’s on it
doesn’t just help you but it helps them!
The whole idea is tied to people not just planet
My world is about people first but people need a place to be that’s our world. I’m a relationship person.
I watch people suffering because they have fewer choices
helping them have more choices and better choices I’m not only helping me I’m helping them.
a piece a lot of us don’t think about
In your home simple choices you can make
study where you home has a lot of heat and light coming in especially through windows
east and west facing windows give a a lot of glare and heat
put up some kind of window covering
insulating curtains or drapes
dual stal blinds
that let in a beaut iful filtered light
filtered out some of the noise I didn’t want to spend all the money to replace their windows.
Wait Before You Replace Windows
And that’s from a return on investment often times the last thing you should do
light and heat coming in your windows. Might even put an awning on outside of window to protect you from the high summer hot sun. I’ve seen people put trellesis with plants climbing
shade it from the outside
heat’s not getting to the outside
if you don’t have that option or its too challenging
blocking the heat before it comes into the house
blocking the heat and the light is not only going to improve the quality of your daylight when you want it it’s going to save you money
- not going to have as much hot air
- increase your comfort
insulating curtains as a big box store and they were extremely reasonable and they were for my teen who loved being in a dark room
kept out the draft and the morning sun…
There’s something super easy!
I love all of that and you talked about the shaded trellis and planting a deciduous tree! What a great idea. I always say if I was president I would insist that every parking lot has to have a deciduous tree for every 4-8 cars or so. In the summer you get the shade and in the winter you get the passive solar.
In fact you can landscape your entire homesite to make your home more energy efficient by using techniques that have been used for generations
- trees for windbreaks
- to insulate the foundation
- trees or trellises to shade windows
- roofs if you’re not planning to put solar panells on your roofs
Also you get the added benefit
- nature right there
- edibles raise food
and your raising it so you know what’s in it.
There’s all sorts of things that have multiple benefits so you just pick which one you want and then you have all these mulitple benefits
Do you know anything about? A few years ago I interviewed Hunter Lyndon and we talked about the Clinton Global Initiative to put green roofs on buildings to increase air conditioning costs in the summer. Have you done any of that?
I haven’t which are major awesome
there was a company in St. Louis
several of the buildings in the Beijing olympics have green roofs from the company in St Louis. You have to make sure the roof can support the weight so you want to make sure it’s structurally sound
If you have a flat roof and can’t put a garden up there painting it white
is a great option will save so much money
starting to paint streets and parking lots
if you are building remodeling or replacing a roof, choose a lighter color for your roof if you are in a climate that is hot because that dark roof absorbs the heat.
People don’t seem to talk about this enough, Al Gore used to talk about this but this is what scares me, the air conditioning knocking out our electric grid. Our grid is antiquated and when the air conditioning is booming, I mean here I am in Montana, I can live pretty easy without electricity I mean knock on wood I would hate to lose my fridge.
a few years in NY, there was a a few years ago there was a grid failure and a whole part of the East Coast was down.
It was hurricane Sandy right?
No it was a power outtage.
- A friend lost everything in your fridge
- people were trying to grill all the meat in freezer
- people could eat it and not waste it
- so much went to waste not to mention
inconvenience of life without electricity and what’s interesting if you read what’s going on. We have already converted to a very electical life. As we’re moving clean renewable which we are doing fairly significantly amount but it will help to provide more resilience for the electrical grid.
What also has to happen which you hit on the head is we have to update the grid to support this. It’s a different way of gathering power and distributing about it. There’s a whole conversation and movement. I listen to really good podcast I listen to
99% Invisible by Roman Mars
When you put solar panels on your house and you are generating more electricity then you use it will turn backwards your meter and put power back into the grid.
Utility companies pay for that in many states through this concept of net metering. Really interesting podcast that talked about how this whole concept came up and how utility companies are having to adapt to it because there area lot of people putting solar panels and there will continue to be.
I was gonna say I think the solar power industry is the biggest growing industry in the US or the World…
IT’s growing fast.
I think a lot of it is because companies are investing into that and solar companies are making it more affordable by being like here were gonna charge you along with your electric bill, we’ll put the panels on your house and you will just get a bill while you generate money already.
Home owners associations looking into curb appeal.
subsidies and incentives
we had a few years ago the price has come down
You pay for something over a certain number of years or you can lease panels and pay for power but it keeps on giving back. It’s a cool option.
We’re seeing a lot of utility companies install renewable energy as part of their energy portfolio.
Here’s a choice a lot of us can make.
Do a tad bit of research on the companies you buy products from and see if their values align with yours and we each have power with our pocketbook in what we buy and what we don’t.
I look for companies that have a sustainability plan and a sustainability commitment.
Occassionally I buy from a company that hasn’t necessarily put it out there often because Io don’t have another choice
step further then that
certify a house
certify a product
energy efficient label for
watersense water efficiency
things have lower amounts of emissions
chemcials off gassing
short cuts third party certifications
another way of knowing the research is done by an accredited trustworthy third party organization.
Another things we hit on in the book
another thing I would suggest is making something last longer and work better
or for me I’m thinking it sounds liek money I don’t want to spend pay the mechanic etc.
small investment of time and money
that we make in maintenance lengthen the lives of our things last longer
There’s a chapter to simple seasonal maintenance things
partnered with Tina Glister
home tips for Women
We partnered to create this maintenance checklist
she breaks everything into 3 categories
little bit of time
little more time
maintain – a list of things by season.
If you’re really into doing something cool
weekend warrior project
do an update
I love this 3 tier approach
- It’s very approachable
- Very doable
closer to homes
more apt to know if somethings out of line or out of the right way of working and kind of just get that vibe. I remember years ago I used to mow our own lawn. After I mowed it for a while, I would get the feel of the ground, I could tell just from walking the yard, I could tell if something’s amiss
We pay to have so much stuff done we’re losing touch.
kind of get a feel for it
maintaining your yard and garden is part of that.
do you have a tip for maintaining your yard or garden.
Pull your weeds
Round up should not be in your home
apologize for using a brand name but it ends up in found in our food sources and watershed. Yards are not an independent system
Storm water run off
Whatevers in our yards and gardens that don’t break down end up in our
- natural environment
- washed downstream
- system of system
Pulling weeds is the best way to get rid of them and it’s good hard work. I remember weeding as a kid. It was one of the chores that we could chose weekly or monthly. I always figured noone else in our family, I had 2 sisters. It was the short straw, our least favorite thing to do but it was somewhat fulfilling and today if I see a big growth of chickweed I have to pick it.
I know what you mean, I saw spotted knapweed. I just stick to the name glyphosate which is the chemical. The biggest thing I have learned from my podcast which should have been a no-brianer because we never use it but who’s gonna be affected most, your toddler crawling on the lawn, your dog playing on the lawn.
ohow many people I know now that has cancer
seems to be building up in our environment
affecting us faster
cancer just runs in my family
here’s what I want people to remember it’s all related
How many of us grew up by the golden rule? Treat others the way you want to be treated. Why does that not matter how we treat our living environment?
its our neighbors
live next door to our homes
not an island
oh well it just effects me kind of an attitude
doing anything to improve it is going to improve you but it’s gonna have a ripple effect too. It uplevels everybody
rising tides raises all boats – Thank You Matt Belcher.
JLD says that too, all boats rise in a high tide. In the pre-chat is that one of your strengths is helping people get along without being confrontational. I’m sure this won’t be much for my listeners but if we run into people, relatives, friends, coworkers, colleagues etc…
I’m a work in progress on this too.
What I discovered, if you listen first there’s some concern or something going on, so I do a better job listening for an opening, rather then making an opening. For example if my sister says, I can’t believe their not recycling this in my curbside recycling. That opens a conversations about why does that bug you?
You mentioned the oil and gas representative I talked about earlier.
tell me what’s going on
I live in OK city now
been in St Louis
grew up in OK city
many years ago went to college in St. Louis and just stayed
moved back, got married to a guy I knew in HS. Both of my parents are still here and their spouses. It’s having huge affect or having a time with my family as an adult.
I’m enjoying tat so much such a gift!
ok city ok as a state
beef industry and oil and gas!
both are major contributors to our climate situation. So I’m not going to run around saying what are you doing? you bad people? This is the livelihood for people in my state.
I met this executive a couple of weeks ago and it’s in this trendy part of town
art walk in a trendy little neighborhood.
We get talking. He says what do you do.
I’m a green home coach
He says I’m in the oil and gas industry so I’m sure I can’t be green
I said why not? You live some where right? You can do stuff in your home
even if you are doing work what you call green you can still take actions in your home and your life. Aren’t exacerbating problems.
He looked at me and said I hadn’t thought of that.
Well I’m in for a dime I’m in for a dollar
Stick our heads in the sand
a little bit to impart change
We are all part of the solution
whether you know what to do or don’t
We have an opportunity to be ambassadors
We have an opportunity to share gently very gently with people what’s working and why it’s important to us!
We don’t necessarily have to transfer our values etc sharing those.
I have to send you a copy of this book I’m working on called the Green Queen.
Open up something to somebody I never considers
You said something very impactful
hope is part of the magic trio
- and love
if we have hope we can do all kinds of things
keep talking about that hope
people take action so that can spread
I love the fact that I’m seeing more people like your mom get involved
- running for office
- joining groups
- talking about it
whole idea of green homes
and make it part of the conversation
more we talk about it
leave you with this with this brief piece that I wrote that explains what we are all about.
Climate change is really starting to become a major factor in our lives
64% belive it’s real and cause
51% are anctious about it’s affect
consider our lifestyles may not yet have connected the dots
this is what we do here
help you find the things you can do in your home right now.
Doesn’t matter if you
- own it
- rent it
to be part of the solution
we all want to be par to the solution
what can we do without causing major
urban or suburban
feel stuck in our pattern of life
buy the same products
in our yard
don’t know what we don’t
That’s what we do we provide actionable things you can do in your home to make it part of the solution
- choosing your kitchen
- make your yard a magnet for butterflies
- tightening up stuff in your home
- just turning stuff off
that’s what we believe
Home is Home
doesn’t have to be hard or require sacrifice to have a greener home and many times you may not have that because home is home
if you go to greenhomecoach.com everything is on there
- the book with purchase links
- podcast notes
- links to listen
- other resources that we offer
- coming out with a program
to teach people what a green home is and why it matters coming out Fall of 2017
newslist they can sign up there
it’s a great way to cross audiences and introduce people to new stuff.
I think listeners are going to love hearing this episode. I am going to encourage listeners if they get a copy of your book they go to amazon and leave a review because review’s are key!
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